After receiving well-deserved pre-season hype, the 2021 Virginia Baseball program (9-10, 3-9 ACC) has struggled to right the ship early on this season. This streak continued this past weekend as they dropped a weekend series to the #15 Pitt Panthers (11-5,8-4 ACC), 3-1.
While the series was supposed to begin Friday night, the opener would be pushed back to Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers got out to an early lead, thanks to a sac fly by Nic Kent in the bottom of the third. However, this would be the only Wahoo run scored. Pitt Pitcher Mitch Mitchell pitched an absolute gem for the Panthers, throwing a complete game and giving up only one run on just three hits.
The Panthers would help out their pitcher, by adding some run support in the fourth inning, when David Yanni launched his sixth home run of the season over the fence, tying the game at one. This is where the score would stand until Ron Washington Jr. scored the decisive run in the sixth inning off of a two out single. The Cavaliers would go on to lose the opener by a final score of 2-1.
In game two of the series, the Pitt Panthers never trailed throughout the entire matchup. While UVA Starter Griff McGarry got off to a strong start Sunday afternoon, he would start to struggle in the third inning. The Panthers would earn two runs on four hits in the inning, with McGarry being pulled in the middle of the inning.
While the Cavaliers would fight back with two runs of their own, one off of a Kyle Teel single in the sixth, and the other due to Devin Ortiz’s first home run of the season. While the Cavalier pitching staff would only allow two runs over the final five innings, it would be enough to sink their chance at a series victory, as they would fall 6-2.
In the series finale, the Cavaliers would score more than 3x the amount of runs that they scored in the first two games. While the Panther pitching staff was dominant in the first two games, they fell apart Monday afternoon. While the Cavalier offense would explode for 10 runs and win by a final score of 10-4, it did not always appear like this game would fall to the Wahoos. With the game tied 4-4 in the seventh inning, Brian O’Connor’s offense exploded for four runs in the bottom of the seventh. The rally started with a single from Logan Michaels and would be enough to put the Cavaliers ahead of the Panthers.
The Cavaliers will look to ride off the momentum of Monday’s victory when they travel to face the Liberty Flames (13-5, 3-0 ASUN) this Wednesday at 4pm.